Navigation Links
Parents' poor math skills may lead to medication errors

BOSTON Many parents cringe when their child asks for help with math homework. New research shows that poor math skills can cause another difficulty for caregivers measuring the right amount of medicine.

In fact, parents with math skills at the third grade level or below were five times more likely to measure the wrong dose of medication for their child than those with skills at the sixth grade level or higher, according to a study to be presented Saturday, April 28, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston.

"Parents face many challenges as they seek to administer medications to their children in a safe and effective manner," said study co-author H. Shonna Yin, MD, MS, FAAP, assistant professor of pediatrics, New York University School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital Center. "Dosing liquid medications correctly can be especially confusing, as parents may need to understand numerical concepts such as how to convert between different units of measurement, like milliliters, teaspoons and tablespoons. Parents also must accurately use dosing cups, droppers and syringes, many of which vary in their measurement markings and the volume they hold."

Studies have shown that people with low reading skills are more likely to make mistakes in measuring the correct amount of medicine. Little research, however, has focused on whether low math skills contribute to dosing errors.

In this study, researchers looked at the relationship between both reading and math skills and medication dosing errors. Participants included 289 parents of children younger than 8 years of age who were prescribed a short course of liquid medication after being seen in a pediatric emergency department. Caregivers spoke either English or Spanish and were the primary person responsible for administering the medication.

Caregivers were given three tests to assess their reading and math skills. Researchers also watched parents as they measured out a dose of the medication that had been prescribed for their child.

Study results revealed that nearly one in three parents had low reading skills, while 83 percent of parents had poor numeracy skills (27 percent had skills at the third grade level or below).

Observations showed that 41 percent of parents made a dosing error. Parents' math scores, in particular, were associated with measuring mistakes, with parents who scored below the third grade level on the math test having almost a five times increased odds of making a dosing error.

"Our study found that many parents have poor numeracy skills, placing them at risk for making dosing errors," Dr. Yin said. "These findings point to a need to examine whether strategies that specifically address parent math skills can help reduce medication errors in children. In addition, recognition of the importance of addressing numeracy skills may be helpful for health care providers as they seek to improve their communication of medication instructions. For example, having providers review and give parents pictures of dosing instruments filled to the correct amount for that prescription may be beneficial."

Contact: Debbie Jacobson
American Academy of Pediatrics

Related medicine news :

1. Explorers Bounty Puffed Fruit Snacks Helping Parents Battle Summer Obesity
2. Parents often wait too long to treat childrens asthma symptoms
3. New intervention helps Latino parents of asthmatic children quit smoking
4. PDA Reminds Parents About the Importance of Childrens Oral Health
5. New Virtual Program for Parents of Children with ADD / ADHD
6. Parents Divorce Doesnt Harm College-Age Kids
7. Some Parents Consider Hastening a Sick Childs Death
8. Infectious Virus Hides In Human Chromosomes During Latency And Can Be Passed From Parents To Their Children
9. Mother of Binge Drinking Victim Urges Students and Parents to Discuss Signs of Alcohol Poisoning, Emphasize Peer Responsibility Prior to Spring Break
10. Twinlab Launches New Omega-3 Powder in Single-Serving Stick Packs for Busy Parents and Their Kids
11. Risks of Kids Surgeries May Not Stick With Parents
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... The print component of “Supporting Our Caregivers” ... New York, Minneapolis, South Florida, with a circulation of approximately 250,000 copies and ... vast social media strategy and across a network of top news sites and ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... A simply ... Jones, is an interesting show that delves into an array of issues that are ... that could benefit from open dialogue, this show is changing the subjects consumers focus ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... Dr. ... Medical Associates, Inc. and Dr. Tucker Bierbaum with Emergency Medicine at St., ... observed that both STEMI and Sepsis conditions present in similar ways and require time-critical ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... CognisantMD and Cambridge ... imaging in the Waterloo region. Using the Ocean Platform, family physicians can now ... their electronic medical record (EMR) without the need for redundant patient entry or ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... opinion process, participated in the 61st annual Employee Benefits Conference. The Employee Benefits ... place Sunday, November 8th through Wednesday, November 11th, 2015. The conference was held ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 26, 2015  The total global healthcare industry is ... 2015-2016. Latin America has the highest ... (excluding Japan ), is second with growth ... to face increased healthcare expenditure. In 2013-2014, total government funded ... 43.5% in 2008-2009 to 41.2% in 2013-2014. In real terms, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 AAIPharma Services ... investment of at least $15.8  Million to expand ... Wilmington, NC . The expansion will provide ... meet the growing demands of the pharmaceutical and ... site expansion will provide up to 40,000 square ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 Kitov Pharma ceuticals ... a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of therapeutic ... today announced the closing of its previously announced underwritten ... ), each representing 20 ordinary shares of the Company, ... ADSs and warrants were issued in a fixed combination ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: